On Saturday I was in my friend’s store where a college professor or counselor or something like that proclaimed his penchant for “down-low brothers.”  He said “we,” (presumably black women since two of us were his only audience) “need to get it.”  His plans for the night including finding one of these brothers to do things for him I will not sully my keyboard repeating.

Sunday my eldest sister told me about her childhood girlfriend who insists on dating committed men, well at least the “cute” ones. 

Finally, this morning my sister sent an email from the university where she works reporting that 4 of its students had been shot on Saturday night execution style.  3, including one of her work-study students, died.  There are no leads in the case. 

I trouble myself for clues to the case because I want to feel better.  I want to give Evil Its face, name, a smell, something so obvious I can notice from afar, avoid like the plague, live whatever happily ever after the Universe chooses for me without Its interruption of it. But everyday It surrounds me like the thick heat that’s been stifling the northeast lately. 

It sits on the stoops I pass, works the register at Walmart, pays for Its Slurpee in front of me at Seven-11, and pulls up behind me on 695; shops two stores over in the mall, reads the newspapers I read, tells me how I gotta try Five Guys.  And I miss or ignore It depending on the face, smell, sneakers It wears.

Evil doesn’t only turn a youth minister to a school yard wall, steal his stuff, and then his life.  Sometimes It makes Its dog eat gunpowder; sometimes It passes STDs to the woman who loves It; sometimes It cares.  But only when It’s gonna get something out of the deal. Evil is selfish.  That’s the only thing that is consistent about It.  Which is why we miss It even when It’s right in our face.  Which is why no clues can really explain It; give It the logic that keeps us from living in bunkers, strapped to the gills, in oxygen bubbles. 

Evil wears our grins; smells, dresses, eats so much like us we could swear It doesn’t exist, that It’s one of us, just us at our worst. 

Well that means It is.

I wish my mind’s reluctant admission that It exists and my body’s restive refusal to accept that It’s okay would not be mine alone.  I know it’s not.  Sometimes it just feels like it. I also know it’s not this black and white; hardly this cut and dry.  But, Evil, if It’s us at our worst, must grow from bad to worse before It finally reaches worst.  Which means when we see It in ourselves or the people we know, maybe even care about, at not-so; kinda; and even straight up bad I hope we acknowledge that It’s not “okay,” shaking our heads or blushing uneasily. 

Maybe that’ll be the pump of the brakes that keeps others’ worlds—like the mamas and daddies of those students, the wives and lovers of those dl brothers—from spinning out of control.    

2 thoughts on “Evil

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